The Carolina Panthers will play the Miami Dolphins at 8:30 p.m. Monday in a game that is also being used as a way to salute the nation’s military.
Panthers players will honor fallen heroes by wearing the service member’s initials on helmets during the game. Luke Kuechly, for example, is honoring Army National Guard Sgt. Thomas C. Ray II of Weaverville. Ray died March 22, 2008, when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device in Baghdad. Two other U.S. service personnel died in the attack.
Some veterans and their families will be honored in the stands as well, among them Bob Adams, a 93-year-old World War II veteran. He will be seated in a “Row of Honor” at the game, said a Panthers tweet.
U.S. Navy Ret. Petty Officer 1st Class Steven Powell will perform the National Anthem at the Monday game. During his service, Steven received nine Navy Achievement Medals, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, The Presidential Unit Ribbon, and 3 Deployment Service Ribbons, said a tweet from the Panthers.
On Sunday, players also took time out at practice to meet with the family members of 63 military members who have died in action.
In a related team effort, the Panthers, Lowe’s and USO of NC visited Fort Jackson Army Base in Columbia, South Carolina, on Nov. 7 to spend time with Army recruits undergoing basic training. Team members visited the Victory Tower training center, Hilton Field parade grounds, ate with soldiers and took part in an Engagement Skills Trainer with the 193rd Brigade. Players Mario Addison, Wes Horton and Greg Van Roton took part in the trip along with team mascot Sir Purr and TopCats cheerleaders.
The game will be broadcast on Charlotte TV station WSOC and ESPN. Pregame show starts on WSOC at 8 p.m. The weather will be perfect for the tailgaters, clear and dry with temperatures falling from the mild 60s to the cool 40s during game, according to the Observer’s news partner WBTV. Temperatures will be in the high 40s by the end of the game.